Cicely Tyson is First African American Woman to Receive Honorary Oscar – Her 1st Academy Award!

Photo Credit: ROBYN BECK / Getty

Cicely Tyson was honored by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science with an honorary Oscar on Sunday. She became the first Black actress to receive this award.

Ava DuVernay, Quincy Jones and Tyler Perry present Tyson with the award. Quincy shared that “her work, grace, dignity, class, humility and profound professionalism firmly placed her on the pedestal of Hollywood royalty, and now at last, I could not be more honored to sat that tonigt, Cicely Tyson receives her more than well-deserved Oscar.”

Cicely Tyson with her academy award
(Photo Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty)

According to, the board of governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Governors Awards were created to grant honorary Oscars to entertainment legends who had not won yet an Academy Award.

While accepting her award, Tyson shared a heartfelt message to her late mother, Frederica.

“Mom, I know you didn’t want me to do this, but I did and here it is. For the longest time, I wanted to hear something positive from her. When I did Jane Pittman…she said, ‘I am so proud of you.’ If I had not heard those words from her, none of this would make a difference to me.”

Tyson was nominated in 1973 for her role in Sounder as Rebecca Morgan.